Lucas Piazon has been a Chelsea player since 2012, arriving as an 18-year-old from São Paulo after impressing club scouts with his performances in international youth competitions and signing a pre-contract six months prior. However, in the four years since, the young attacking midfielder — the next Kaká! — has only made three appearances for the first-team (all in 2012-13 season) and has spent most of his time out on loans in England and abroad.
This season, Piazon joined Championship club Fulham — his second straight loan into England’s second tier. Although he didn't get many chances with his new team at the start, he’s slowly worked his way into the starting lineup and has now started seven matches in a row, scoring twice. Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic has learned to trust him to deliver and while also seeing him as a good example of perseverance and determination for his teammates.
"Lucas Piazon, in the last few games, has started to be a very important player for us. He is very fast and has experience playing in [the Championship]. He played 23 games for Reading last season, so he didn't need a lot of time to adapt himself. We are happy with what he has offered in the last few games."
"He stayed with us during the international break, when we are not working with a complete team. Step by step, without any game, we try to detect what these players can offer us, how they can help us."
"After some kind of experience working with him, we detect he's a player who can give us a different thing from what we have in our squad. Generally, his case can encourage other people who still don't have enough minutes or participate so much. Show the right character and confidence, push hard and wait for the right chance."
"This competition is tough and long, and I'm sure some players not in my first plan now will soon be in this situation. They have to understand to be professional and push hard, and be ready when they get a chance."
-Slavisa Jokanovic; Source: Get West London
There were a few questions about Piazon’s attitude a few years so ago, so it's good to see him reaping the benefits of hard work and a positive work ethos. Even if Piazon's future prospects with Chelsea aren't too bright, this mindset can take him very far in a footballing career that is still just getting started.